Welcome to our third interview of the series, Motherhood Minis, featuring bitesize interviews with real mums. A sneak peek into the lives of our Matchstick Monkey parents and their little ones!
This month for motherhood minis, we’re catching up with Jade on motherly pride, the importance of caffeine, and not pushing yourself too much! Jane also runs her own blog The Millar Diaries, writing about motherhood, miscarriage and reviewing all kinds of useful baby products.
Jade lives in north west Manchester with her 7-month-old baby boy Reuben and husband, Patrick.
Jade, what are your favourite aspects of being a parent?
Seeing my baby learn, grow and explore the world. It gives me an overwhelming sense of pride and love. I also can’t resist those baby giggles and smiles!
Of all the baby stages, which have you found the most challenging?
The newborn stage I found was the hardest (so far). As a first time mum, it was such a huge learning curve. There’s a whole ton of newness and things to learn on top of very little sleep.
Doing anything on limited sleep can feel like a huge task – never mind looking after a tiny baby. I hadn’t quite appreciated that newborns want to be held constantly and my baby would only sleep on me. Once I came to terms with this, and stopped trying to push myself to do anything other than looking after my baby, things got easier. The pots can wait!
What are your top tips for dealing with the day after a less than restful night?
Take it easy and accept help from those who are willing to give it. It’s ok to have days where it feels like all you’ve done is survive. You have a lifetime ahead of you to do chores, wash your hair and get out of the house. Looking after yourself and baby is the most important thing right now.
Don’t push yourself too hard when you haven’t had much sleep. People will tell you ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ – this isn’t a thing. I never got a chance or felt able to nap whilst my baby was asleep. Instead, take up any offers of help given. If someone pops round to see baby they won’t be offended if you slope off for a power nap - especially if they’re parents themselves. They’ll get it because they’ve been there!
Caffeine is going to be your new best friend. That said, don’t expect to drink a hot cuppa for quite some time. Sorry, need to manage your expectations here.
What was the best advice that you could give to an expectant mum/dad?
You’ve got this. Parenthood is going to be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done but will by far be the most rewarding. You won’t know whether you’re coming or going in those first few weeks of life with a newborn but know it gets better and it won’t always feel so tough and scary. It’s ok to feel like you’re struggling sometimes - trust me we’ve all been there. You are going to do an amazing job. Just remember you are the world to your baby.
You’ve got a quickly growing following online. Do you see yourself as an influencer?
Yes. It took me some time to realise this as I was just doing something I loved; documenting my son’s life, my journey as a first time mum and be open and honest about breastfeeding. Naturally, part of this was sharing my mum tips & must-haves and writing reviews. I then noticed others taking on board my advice and opinions and following suit/making purchases etc. That’s when I realised I was an influencer.
How has your growing Instagram following changed your day to day life?
Running my Instagram account feels like a part-time job. Staying current, making contacts, creating content and engaging with my followers takes up a lot of my day. Though I find it extremely rewarding and love being able to open up a conversation with others. I always take the time to respond to everybody who engages with me and my posts. I have also made some amazing friends who’d I’ve not have met if it wasn’t for joining the parenthood communities on Instagram.
Why do you think your account has become so popular, is this something you planned from the start?
I think people like my honesty. I show ‘mum life’ how it is and don’t hold anything back. I believe I’m relatable to a lot of other mums and parents. I don’t just run an account and post pictures – I start debates, respond to questions and offer support.
I only really started using my Instagram properly when Reuben was born. At that point I had 350 followers and had no idea less than 6 months down the line I’d have 6K followers who tuned in every day to see what Reuben and I are up to. It’s made all the time I’ve spent building it feel worthwhile. People are genuinely interested in us and the products & brands we champion.
How old were your children when they started to teeth?
Around 12 weeks old
Did any of your children have symptoms of teething, or did they just come through without a fuss?
Yes. Noticeable symptoms were: excessive drooling, chomping down on anything in sight, red cheeks
Did you use any teething products? If so, what helped?
We did. So far we’ve used teething toys, teething gels and teething massagers. The only thing Reuben has really taken to are teething toys. His favourite is the Mini Matchstick Monkey which he’s rarely seen without.